Bedroom tax bid rejected by Wolverhampton City Council chiefs

A move to soften the blow of the bedroom tax in Wolverhampton by reclassifying bedrooms has been ruled out by council chiefs.

Earlier this year, government cuts were made in housing benefit given to council tenants with more bedrooms than they are deemed to need.

It is estimated that around 2,620 people in the city have been hit by the move, with the bulk facing an £11-a-week loss in benefit, while around 530 are battling to cope with a £20-a-week cut after being ruled to have two rather than one bedroom too many.

Wolverhampton City Council chiefs are offering assistance to those affected but have now decided against introducing a widespread ‘reclassification’ that could reduce the effect on homes by calling small bedrooms by a different name.

The cabinet said it will resort to reclassification only in ‘exceptional circumstances’ following ‘rigorous assessment’.

The unanimous decision followed warnings that wholesale implementation could cost them dear.

Council leader Councillor Roger Lawrence told a meeting of the cabinet: “Following the bedroom tax, a number of local authorities have looked at reclassification as a way of helping tenants to tackle this unpopular and regressive piece of legislation. Sadly I do not think this will help this city council.

“The procedure may enable us to assess a small number of properties but it is not a general solution. Nice try, but we would end up facing all kinds of issues.”

A helpline was set up in the wake of the welfare reforms to give people advice.

Comments for: "Bedroom tax bid rejected by Wolverhampton City Council chiefs"

Lakeside

Quite right too, no reason why taxpayers should foot the bill.

charlie.bear.5836

"to tackle this unpopular and regressive piece of legislation"

I didn't know it was for councillor Roger Lawrence to opine on what Parliamentary legislation was popular and what wasn't.

Maybe he doesn't live in a democracy, or maybe he thinks the rest of us shouldn't.

Crell

We're told there's a shortage of housing, yet half of all new homes to be built are going to immigrants. The government has grossly under-estimated the latest surge come 2014. This invariably means more tax on the British, like you see here.. more tax on the poor. We're being penalized once again for this government's failings and the only way we can start to deal with this issue is by voting them OUT!

charlie.bear.5836

The largest immigration "boom" was encouraged and took place under Labour. They used it as a political weapon to "rub the right's nose in diversity".

The 2014 surge hasn't happened yet, so no-one knows the validity of the estimates.

Boinggobaggies

I can see there are two sides to this issue and feel that the council is right not to spend extra money reclassifying rooms that are already exactly what they should be I mean no matter what you put in the room itself a bedroom is still a bedroom and there would be all sorts of pit falls and appeals against rulings if you went down any other route.

However, I do also feel for the council tenants especially the ones who have been in the properties for a number of years and seen children grow and leave home. The only reason the government is now looking at a shortage in council property is because of the gradual increase in asylum seekers and settlers from mainly Eastern Europe who under EU law are completely entitled to come here and equally entitled to claim through our benefit and housing system. Without this increased pressure on an already cram packed system I'm sure the problem would not be so much of an issue. Therefore maybe the Government should look into the possibility of reducing the burden these settlers and asylum seekers are placing on the system that they have never paid a penny into rather than looking for loop holes of is it a bedroom or isn't it ?

Ed Banger

The housing shortage is a result of Thatcher allowing council tenants to buy their homes and not giving councils funding to build new properties to replace them. The rising population of this country has put more pressure on the problem. What needs to be done is scrap the right to buy a council house, scrap building houses just to buy and consentrate on building more council houses. In Wolverhampton only 24/26 new council homes are being built since the 1980s and there are over 13,000 people on the waiting list for a property. Labour, Conservative and the current government have failed to sort out this problem because all they want is money going to them. Just think the more council properties are sold without replacement, the more your council rent will go up and the more your council tax will go up which will affect everyone because there will be less income going to your council due to less housing stock.